Knowledge managers and records managers are at a crossroads.
It is anticipated that by 2025 there will be an estimated 175 zettabytes of data worldwide – four times what existed in 2018. Organization leaders accountable for knowledge and records management are striving to find better ways to manage the ever-expanding data volume while facing intensifying modern pressures.
With Microsoft Office 365 comes the promise of a better way to selectively capture knowledge and records, apply metadata and labels, search data and manage retention. Is the road ahead one where the goals of knowledge managers and records managers will converge? How can Microsoft Office 365 help to equip both groups to manage information governance in alignment?
In his latest white paper, Microsoft MVP Robert Bogue explores this question and the challenges ahead including the somewhat duelling retention motivations of records managers and knowledge managers themselves. Bogue draws on expert interviews to investigate: what are the modern needs of knowledge managers, records managers and digital workers? And what critical services and add on solutions are required so that Office 365 is utilized in a way that serves the diverse requirements of all these stakeholders?
Co-sponsored by Colligo, Vana Solutions and HELUX, the white paper lays out a path for getting past the challenges and reaching the goal of effective knowledge and records management using Office 365. Bogue advises readers about:
- Learning a framework for understanding the needs and history of knowledge management and records management.
- Assessing a vision of a united information governance future with Office 365.
- Identifying where your organization sits along the path to modern information governance.
- Discovering tools to support Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 for efficient knowledge and records management.
The following is a summary of some key takeaways from the whitepaper.
Bridging the Gap Through Unified Classification
Knowledge managers’ and records managers’ traditional mandates are completely juxtaposed. What’s deemed valuable by one group is perceived by the other as a risk.
Knowledge managers are traditionally tasked with capturing as much information as possible to ensure institutional knowledge is retained. In this age of peak retirement and the ‘gig economy’, where more contractors are being hired for short term projects, this need for effective systems to store and document knowledge has never been more vital.
On the other side, records managers are tasked with ensuring only essential records are kept, in order to avoid the risks and costs associated with legal discovery.
Workers are caught in the middle of these two functions. They expect the frictionless, anywhere access to information they have become accustomed to with consumer products like Google and are unwilling to spend any of their valuable time documenting and categorizing the information they create.
The solution is for knowledge managers and records managers to work together to create a holistic information governance system based on their unifying need to appropriately tag information saved for both legal discovery and searchability for workers, while leveraging Office 365’s full range of search tools.
By unifying the classification of information across information governance teams, Bogue says workers don’t need to consider separate activities for marking sensitivity, value and retention requirements, thereby reducing the difficulty for users.
Making the Transition to Information Governance
Knowledge managers and records managers have different roles to play in enabling the transition to information governance.
Knowledge managers must develop a unified taxonomy that can be leveraged for the identification of records, monitoring of information disclosure and connecting employees to the knowledge available within their organization, while working to identify content that can be trimmed.
Records managers must make the transition from gatekeepers to coordinators, organizers and leaders by working with organizational teams to ensure compliance needs are met and tagging is done to allow records to be transferred to an archive or destroyed when they’re no longer needed.
Their relationship moving forward is built upon the foundation of a strong information architecture that creates a structure for metadata capture and classification.
Creating a Progressive Information Governance Roadmap
Mapping a smart path forward starts with understanding where organizations sit on the path to modern information governance.
From a records management perspective the path can start at a traditional, but ineffective paper system, but a roadmap to progress through to a hybrid system – which is considered to be best practice – should be put in place.
Records managers must also conduct regular assessments of the needs for records and retention within the organization – no matter what stage of their roadmap they are in. The real work for records managers, Bogue says, becomes the shepherding of the information governance program to ensure that tags appropriately classify records.
For knowledge management, there’s a need to evaluate the systems in place to identify types of information to be stored, making it effective for employees to do capture, and ensuring access and search are simple for reuse.
Once the unique goals and risks of knowledge management and records management are understood, a progressive information governance roadmap should be developed to define common goals and an information architecture that drives how information is used, retained and identified. While both groups have their differences, they are unified in their need for accurate and meaningful metadata that is both correct and easy for users to enter.
Underpinning successful information management and content service platform rollouts, is the need to make records, and information access and classification easier and more transparent for workers. By eliminating barriers to creating knowledge and records, organizations can encourage users to more actively participate in the management of both.
Bogue recommends developing a set of overlapping techniques that create an effective knowledge ecosystem and encourage discovery. He makes clear that the powerful capabilities alone of Office 365 and SharePoint won’t deliver effective knowledge management and records management. Realizing the promise of the technology requires very purposeful implementation, engaging multiple stakeholders, and utilizing add on solutions and services.
Tools for Modern Information Governance – Office 365 Isn’t Enough
SharePoint and Office 365 offer promising infrastructure with built in capabilities for information tagging and knowledge access, but those core capabilities aren’t enough. There are still additional solutions that need to be combined with Microsoft’s infrastructure to serve the needs of knowledge managers, records managers and workers. These include:
- Information Architecture: Drawing on expert advice to assess and identify the optimal information structure for records and knowledge management leveraging Office 365.
- Frictionless Data Capture and Metadata: Using add-on solutions like Colligo’s Email Manager and Document Manager for Office 365 to support user adoption by providing workers with tools to capture knowledge and records right from Outlook and other Office applications, including adding metadata, even from mobile devices.
- Simple Labels for Records Management: Using add-on solutions like Colligo to help users leverage Office 365’s capabilities to classify files by automatically or manually applying retention and sensitivity labels.
As knowledge managers and records managers strive to solve their challenges and unique pressures, SharePoint and Office 365 offer the promise of bringing together the functionality that both stakeholders seek.